House debates

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Matters of Public Importance

Morrison Government

3:18 pm

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | Hansard source

Watching this Prime Minister try to navigate his way through parliament this week reminded me of a Malcolm Tucker quote, 'This is like a clown running across a minefield,' because the fleas are jumping off this dog of a government. The Prime Minister, when he took over and knocked off Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister, described the coalition as a 'muppet show'. Well, he is now the muppet in chief. We know that the theme song of The Muppet Show says, 'It's like a kind of torture to have to watch the show,' and indeed it is.

Today we saw, on the national anticorruption commission, a government lose not one but two votes on the floor of the parliament. Then, when we asked about that in question time, he said it's our fault that they haven't introduced legislation on a national integrity commission, which they said they would more than a thousand days ago. On the Religious Discrimination Bill, which should be above politics, there was no attempt to reach out to the opposition. And I thought, 'That was a bit rough.' But then I found out they didn't even give it to their own party room before they debated it, so perhaps we shouldn't be so sensitive.

Then we have the net zero by 2050 vibe that they've adopted. They can't legislate it. Apparently, no-one's told them that what we debate in this place is legislation. Apparently it's bad. Then they have the target that Tony Abbott established in 2015 to cut emissions by 26 to 28 per cent by 2030. Even though they say they're going to cut emissions by 30 to 35 per cent, they can't change it because the Nats won't let them and half their own party room won't let them. So the Prime Minister goes to Glasgow. That all went well, that international trip. And so he goes to Glasgow after the debacle in Rome. He gave an empty speech to an empty room and then he left. Australia signed up to going to next year's conference of the parties on climate change with a higher target. Australia signed up to that, and then they put out a statement the same day saying they wouldn't do that. Nothing to see here.

Then we get to the issue of vaccines, and that's where it gets really ugly. We had five senators cross the floor to vote for a One Nation position. We have a Prime Minister who's been saying, 'People should be able to get a cup of coffee in Brisbane without showing their vaccination certificate,' without seemingly being aware that the same provisions apply in Sydney. And then we had the protests—an area where we need leadership. The Prime Minister's response was part dog's breakfast, part dog whistle. That was his response, out there, refusing to unequivocally do what a leader was required to do when gallows appeared outside of a parliament and when people were threatening—threatening—to murder members of parliament.

After two years of disruption, Australians need to put the pandemic behind us. We all agree with that. We also agree that we wouldn't have had the recent restrictions if this government had done its job and secured vaccines and secured quarantine. But the best way to do this is to put this government behind us. That's what Australians are increasingly coming to terms with—that this is a government seeking a second decade in office who don't have an agenda for today, let alone an agenda for tomorrow. Perhaps the rebels in the government have a point because no matter what position they take, if they wait long enough it will be the government's position, because Scott Morrison had a different position last week and last month and last year from what he has today.

The Prime Minister has the consistency of mercury—dense, shiny, slippery, toxic and will change shape according to any situation. A prime minister who has no regard for what he himself said yesterday should be given no regard for what he says today. He said, 'We're at the front of the queue,' and we weren't. He said, 'It isn't a race,' and we know that it was. He said electric vehicles would 'end the weekend'. He said he supported Clive Palmer challenging border restrictions. He said 'Shanghai Sam' 17 times and then denied it. On Monday, he said he texted me that he was going to Hawaii, then he doubled down, then an hour later he had to stand at the dispatch box and say, 'No, I didn't,' when he realised that, maybe, there was a bit of evidence there. He should be aware about text messages because he's party to leaking them, as we know, from world leaders. He thinks that that is the way in which you secure relationships on the international stage. But the fact is that when I receive a text message from someone, like all decent people of integrity, I keep them private. The only reason why anyone knows there was any text message at all is because he went on 2GB live from Hawaii and told people; once again setting a precedent for the Macron incident.

The PM did then return and he went to Cobargo, where he falsely claimed he had a long conversation with Zoey Salucci, which wasn't true. We recall the dreadful message of the guy who tells us he supports choice forcing people to shake his hand. I say this: I've never had to force anyone to shake my hand.

My mum had a great saying: you can lock your door from a thief but you can't from a liar. This government is so focused on the photo op there's never a follow-up. It's smirk and mirrors. They're incapable of imagining a better future, let alone creating one. They act like an opposition in exile sitting on the government benches.

We on this side have a plan to build back stronger after COVID, with our National Reconstruction Fund to support the transformation of existing industries and new industries; our plan to make Australia a renewable energy superpower, cleaner energy and cheaper energy that will enable us to build things here, and rebuild; advanced manufacturing—to build manufacturing in areas like trains, defence and agriculture; our 10-point Buy Australian Plan; and our fixing of the National Broadband Network. This mob that say they support technology are the same mob that thought they should replace the fibre rollout with copper—with copper! It says it all about them. We'll train Australians for those jobs by creating Jobs and Skills Australia, supporting TAFE, supporting new infrastructure by having a fair dinkum Infrastructure Australia and not one that's just a place in which you appoint mates.

For all of the jobs that we'll create, we'll create secure work. This week, we've introduced the 'same job, same pay' legislation. We have a range of other measures to close the gender pay gap, to fix casualisation and to look after people in the gig economy. We want no-one held back and no-one left behind. We will advance the universal provision of affordable child care. We will protect and defend Medicare as the key organisation behind our health system. We will fix aged care, which has been the subject of neglect by those opposite.

We'll address issues like gender inequity in this country, including through women's safety with 500 new community workers, which we announced this week, and a family, domestic and sexual violence commissioner. We'll also make sure that women can't just be turned away in the way that they are en masse from housing when they're fleeing violence. We will allocate 4,000 of our housing future fund for women and children escaping domestic violence.

We'll also talk about what sort of nation we want into the future, a nation where we actually work together, a nation where we promote unity, a nation where we take people on that journey where we stop trying to divide. This Prime Minister sees every issue as an opportunity to divide Australians. Even when I just asked about the report into safety in the workplace that is this parliament, he sought to divide. I just wanted a copy of the report and to make sure that all the parliamentarians who participated get access to it.

We'll talk about what sort of Australia we want, and the Australia that I want is one that recognises the great privilege we have of living with the oldest continuous civilisation on earth here, First Nations people, and that's why we will implement the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full, including a voice to parliament that is recognised in our Constitution—something that hasn't been advanced from those opposite, like the National Integrity Commission and so many other things they promised at the last election. It's always just about the announcement and never the delivery for a Prime Minister who is just not up to the job.


No comments